Power Struggles in the Family

May 14, 2005

1.  We’re starting a new series today – an ABF series that dove tails with the Worship Service theme of Embracing the Adventure of a Growing Family
2.  We’ve titled this new series: Complete Makeovers: Case Studies of Embracing the Adventure of a Godly Family – the plan of attack is something like this:
1)  To review (or prepare ourselves – depending on which ABF you attend) the worship service message
2)  To read a Case Study that communicates those biblical concepts (positively or negatively)
3)  Work through specific applications of those truths to that specific life-situation – [we can do this in small groups or as a class – probably a little of both]
4)  Bring other passages of scripture (truth about God, man, etc.) that will further help us to be ‘doers of the Word and not hearers only’
3.  Today: The Complete Makeover deals with Power Struggles in the Family
- Let’s do a bit of REVIEW and/or PREPARATION:
Introduction: [Review the Sermon Notes for the Worship Service – major points]
* There seems to be two extremes in the Power Struggles in the Family:
#1:  The husband who is a control freak – domineering and abusive.
- men in those cases treat their wives and other family members like doormats  // they rule with an ‘iron fist’
- usually these men are often loud, mean, have very little interest in what his wife might say/think
- the other extreme is . . .
#2:  A wife who is taking control of the home
- a wife can do this in a number of ways:
> w/her tongues (cutting words) // choices (just being mean or irritating the husband) // facial expressions...
Bottom Line:  She is running the show...either deal with it or face the consequences of not doing it...
Note:  Some wives would say...some men are so unwilling to lead that ...I’m in charge by default . . . .either they do the work or it doesn’t get done
Point:  Power struggles in the home are a serious issue...
- The good news is...the Bible offers a compelling answer to this problem
[Read Col. 1:9-20 – Key Phrase:  “that Christ might come to have first place in everything”
>  BIG Q:  How do you give Jesus first place in your family?...
* 5 ways Jesus can be in charge in your home:


I.  Place a High Value on Growing in Your Knowledge of Him.


A.  Seek to be filled with the knowledge of His will.
- in every situation, thinking what is God’s will for your life in that specific situation
B. In all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
- that comes only as we spend time with God’s Word – as we read, memorize, meditate, and apply it to our lives in everyday life situations
- that comes as we pray and ask God for wisdom (James 1:5)


II. Determine that Pleasing Him will Be Your Highest Goal.


- focus on the series of statements Paul makes [note the progression] – v. 10-12
A.  Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
B.  Seek to please Him in all respects.
C.  Bear fruit in every good work.
D.  Increase in the knowledge of God.
E.  Be strengthened with all power according to His might.
F.  Attain steadfastness and patience.
G.  Joyously give thanks to the Father.
H.  Remember that you are now qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints.
Point:  Think about these ideas through the lens of the average family argument...—apply each statement to LAST argument you had with your spouse/co-worker/child, etc.


III. Be Sure You Know Him Personally.


-  without knowing Christ, we don’t have the ability to please God, understand the Word, walk in the Spirit, to do what Paul is describing in these verses
Cf.  Notice the words of Jesus in John 15:1-8
- even if you are a believer in Christ – are you living in 2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” – Is your relationship with Him growing, getting better, are you being more like Christ in the way you think/act?


IV. Acknowledge His Position as Creator – v. 15-17 [note: v. 16!!] – Implications of that?


V.  Look for Practical Ways to Make Jesus First.


- to really show that you know Who He is – and what He is like – holy, gracious, loving, etc.
- that could take on a lot of forms – maybe asking others how they accomplish this, or better yet…
* Suggestion:  List the ways Jesus is first in your family, and the ways He’s not [but who should you start with?  YOURSELF – based on Matthew 7:1-5]

Case Study #1: Power Struggles in the Family

Bill and Karen grew up together in the same church.  They have known each other since they were children, and especially became interested in each other as teens.  Bill has strong leadership qualities, but at times would be explosive when things happened to him that he didn’t like.  Karen, being the gracious and forgiving person she is, tried to look past that weakness and see the good in Bill.  Though they completed their pre-marriage counseling, the parents and pastors expressed some concerns about Bill’s tendency to control other people when he would raise his voice in displeasure over various issues.  The newly graduated college students ignored the advice to postpone their marriage for awhile, and instead, they eloped.
Seven years later, the law of the harvest began to become evident in their home.  Arguments over perceived injustices done to him began to escalate.  Early in their marriage, it was one or two times a month – now it is weekly, and at times, it’s daily.  Bill began yelling at Karen, and the children (two kids – a little boy 6, and his little sister 4).  He was happy as long as she kept the house clean and the laundry current – along with a few other tasks.  He would get upset when the children would not obey, or his wife failed to so what he asked.  He doesn’t listen very well, but instead allows his words to became harsh, mean, and condescending.  Karen is a very diligent wife, and tries hard to fulfill her responsibilities in the home.  She’s really struggling with how best to respond to Bill’s leadership.
Some of Bill’s friends question his salvation. He claims to know the Lord, but Bill doesn’t show a lot of interest in spiritual things.  He may pray once in a while, and attends church sometimes, but mainly because Karen wants him to come.  But he is a member of the church, but has little interaction with other men – and when he does, it’s more superficial in nature. 
Bill thinks the problems are with Karen and the kids – not him.  Karen tries to talk to him, but she gets no where. Sometimes she’s even told to “shut-up” or that ‘she doesn’t want to even think about what he might do next.’  Finally, after multiple outbursts and some very close calls on physical abuse, and the children living in fear all the time, Bill and Karen agree to come to you to get some help for their family situation. Karen wants to know how to respond, Bill is finally coming to the understanding that he needs to change!

1.  What is going on in the heart/mind (inner man) of a man who is leading in a manner that Bill is demonstrating? Be specific about what Bill may be thinking or NOT thinking.
- he’s the boss...
- part of the problem there is that God created his wife to be his completer...it wasn’t good that he be alone...he needed someone else...
- and that’s not...someone else to do the laundry and iron the clothes...
- it’s for companionship, and friendship...filling in the gaps and the blind spots...
- but when the husband has grabbed the power and is wielding it unilaterally, he won’t listen or allow his wife to complete him...
- so often the decisions he makes are unwise...because he won’t listen...

2.  How do the following verses help a person to change/grow in this area?
• Genesis 2:18 - Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
- Bill needs to view Karen not as a ‘house maid’ (clean the laundry, etc.) but as a tool in the hand of God to help him grow and change into the image of Christ
• Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 - Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.  Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?  And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
- Bill needs to work with his wife and realize the seriousness of the vows he took to love her, etc.
3.  How does acknowledging Jesus as the Creator help in the way we use our words and the way we verbally and/or physically treat others?
- We are attacking the One in whose image that person is made when we are sinful with our tongues toward people.
- our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit – we treat them with respect – they don’t belong to us
- we are under His authority – and we need to fulfill the purpose for which we were created: glory of God
4.  What would our conflicts look like if we applied the phrases in 1:10-12 to Bill and Karen’s situation? Do this for Bill and Karen (apply it to their actions/thoughts)
5.   Why is it so important to make sure that Bill truly knows the Lord?  And, that even if Bill knows Christ, he needs to have a growing relationship with Him?
- Bill can’t go this by himself – he needs the help of an omnipotent God
- he needs to learn to ‘walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh’ (Gal. 5:16)
- learning to love Christ more and think like Him will help him grow in his love for Karen
6.  What are some ways she may typically respond (discuss bad and good responses). 
[various answers]
>  If he acts that way – so will I // passive resentment //  seething bitterness just under the surface...or pouting....or the cold shoulder //  excuse it and/or fail to confront him
[if a wife is in an abusive situation...she can’t respond in a sinful way...but neither is she resigned to doing nothing – she can communicate w/him and others if he continues to sin]
7.  Using the put off / put on truth from Ephesians 4:22-24 – what are some habits Bill needs to put off and what does he need to do to replace those sinful actions/thoughts?
Put Off Put On
Thoughts:
- my wife’s views/opinions are not important
- I’m always right
Replace with . . .
God gave me my wife as a helper – I can learn from her
- I can be right but loving in what I say
Actions:
- stop raising my voice

Replace with . . .
- I will exercise self control (Gal. 5:16-23) and communicate biblically, and lovingly to my wife

Embracing the Adventure of a Growing Family
“Who is in Charge of Your Home?” – Colossians 1:9-20
Review:
* There seems to be two extremes in the Power Struggles in the Family:
#1:  The husband who is a control freak – domineering and abusive
#2:  A wife who is taking control of the home
* 5 ways Jesus can be in charge in your home:
I.  Place a High Value on Growing in Your Knowledge of Him.
A.  Seek to be filled with the knowledge of His will.
B.  In all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
II. Determine that Pleasing Him will Be Your Highest Goal.
A.  Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
B.  Seek to please Him in all respects.
C.  Bear fruit in every good work.
D.  Increase in the knowledge of God.
E.  Be strengthened with all power according to His might.
F.  Attain steadfastness and patience.
G.  Joyously give thanks to the Father.
H.  Remember that you are now qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints.
III. Be Sure You Know Him Personally.
IV. Acknowledge His Position as Creator – v. 15-17 [note: v. 16!!]
V.  Look for Practical Ways to Make Jesus First.
Cf.  Matthew 7:1-5]
Case Study #1: Power Struggles in the Family
Bill and Karen grew up together in the same church.  They have known each other since they were children, and especially became interested in each other as teens.  Bill has strong leadership qualities, but at times would be explosive when things happened to him that he didn’t like.  Karen, being the gracious and forgiving person she is, tried to look past that weakness and see the good in Bill.  Though they completed their pre-marriage counseling, the parents and pastors expressed some concerns about Bill’s tendency to control other people when he would raise his voice in displeasure over various issues.  The newly graduated college students ignored the advice to postpone their marriage for awhile, and instead, they eloped.
Seven years later, the law of the harvest began to become evident in their home.  Arguments over perceived injustices done to him began to escalate.  Early in their marriage, it was one or two times a month – now it is weekly, and at times, it’s daily.  Bill began yelling at Karen, and the children (two kids – a little boy 6, and his little sister 4).  He was happy as long as she kept the house clean and the laundry current – along with a few other tasks.  He would get upset when the children would not obey, or his wife failed to so what he asked.  He doesn’t listen very well, but instead allows his words to became harsh, mean, and condescending.  Karen is a very diligent wife, and tries hard to fulfill her responsibilities in the home.  She’s really struggling with how best to respond to Bill’s leadership.
Some of Bill’s friends question his salvation. He claims to know the Lord, but Bill doesn’t show a lot of interest in spiritual things.  He may pray occasionally, and attends church sometimes, but mainly because Karen wants him to come.  But he is a member of the church, but has little interaction with other men – and when he does, it’s more superficial in nature. 
Bill thinks the problems are with Karen and the kids – not him.  Karen tries to talk to him, but she gets nowhere. Sometimes she’s even told to “shut-up” or that ‘she doesn’t want to even think about what he might do next.’  Finally, after multiple outbursts and some very close calls on physical abuse, and the children living in fear all the time, Bill and Karen agree to come to you to get some help for their family situation. Karen wants to know how to respond, Bill is finally coming to the understanding that he needs to change!

1.  What is going on in the heart/mind (inner man) of a man who is leading in a manner that Bill is demonstrating? Be specific about what Bill may be thinking or NOT thinking.

2.  How do the following verses help a person to change/grow in this area?
• Genesis 2:18 - Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”


• Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 - Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.  Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?  And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

3.  How does acknowledging Jesus as the Creator help in the way we use our words and the way we verbally and/or physically treat others?

4.  What would our conflicts look like if we applied the phrases in 1:10-12 to Bill and Karen’s situation? Do this for Bill and Karen (apply it to their actions/thoughts)

 

5.   Why is it so important to make sure that Bill truly knows the Lord?  And, that even if Bill knows Christ, he needs to have a growing relationship with Him?


6.  What are some ways she may typically respond (discuss bad and good responses). 


7.  Using the put off / put on truth from Ephesians 4:22-24 – what are some habits Bill needs to put off and what does he need to do to replace those sinful actions/thoughts?
Put Off Put On
Thoughts:

Replace with . . .

Actions:


Replace with . . .